3 out of 4 stars
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Squirrels and Heaven by Randall Rickel is a true story about 17-year-old Randall (Randy) and his 15-year-old friend, Mike. The two young boys are busy laying pipes for an irrigation system when disaster strikes. It is common for ground squirrels to hide in the pipes, and the boys have to remove them. Instead of flushing the squirrels out of the pipes, as his father had instructed Randy, they stand the pipes on end and let Randy’s dog, Daphne, catch them as they fall out. The fifth pipe they are working with hits an electric power line, and they are all electrocuted. Daphne is killed, and Randy and Mike are injured. They manage to get to the edge of the road and flag down a car. They ask the driver to go down the road to a tavern and tell Ed to call an ambulance. They both end up in the hospital intensive care unit with severe burns. Will they survive? How extensive are their injuries?
I like several things about this book. Firstly, Randy does a good job of describing the events, which made me emotional at times. I laughed and cried while reading this book. Secondly, I like the illustration of Daphne. Thirdly, the story demonstrates how depreciating self-pity is. There is always someone who has it worse than you. Finally, Randy uses humor in telling his story. At one point, he jokingly states he shot himself in his good leg when he had not.
I enjoyed reading Randy’s story, and there was nothing I really disliked except Daphne dying and the cruelty to the squirrels. Other than these deaths, there was nothing to dislike. The plot flowed smoothly, and the short book was an easy read. I had a hard time putting the book down and read it in one sitting.
This 50-page book is well written, and I only found four errors in the book. Although this is a small number of errors, it is quite a few for this short of a book. I believe a professional editor would have found these errors. For this reason, I can only give the book 3 out of 4 stars. Once a professional editor has edited the book, it would deserve the full number of stars.
I recommend this book to teenagers over 16 years of age and adults who enjoy memoirs and true stories. I do not recommend this book to younger readers because Randy and Mike's injuries are graphically described and are gory at times.
Squirrels and Heaven
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